Dan Stilt Dancer Mask

  • Tribe: Dan
  • Origin: Cote D'ivoire
  • Approx Age: Later 20th Century
  • Materials: Wood, bells, teeth, mud cloth, feathers
  • Dimensions cm: 41 Tall x 33 Wide x 80 Depth
  • Ref. Number: 0167

A stunning Dan Stilt Dancer Mask, field collected from a village near a town called “Man”. This mask consists or wood, cowrie shells real teeth metal bells raffia, mud cloth and feathers and the medicine pouch on top.

These masks were/ are still used in special dance ceremonies including stilt dances.

Dan Deangle Stilt Dancer Mask 019 (1)

Some of the best “Masquerades” (traditional tribal dances with masks) continue to take place in Cote D’ivoire’s rural areas. One of the most impressive and colourful dances is the stilt dance… watch a similar stilt dance footage on YouTube.

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Watch a video of the Dan dancing on stilts –  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7H9f0paCCo

The Dan are an extremely musical people. They don’t do anything without music. Rice, Death, Marriage, Birth, Weather are all celebrated with music.

Dan sculptors mainly produce masks which deal with virtually every element in Dan society, including education, competition, war, peace, social regulation, and of course, entertainment. They also produce stylized wooden spoons and intricate game boards used for mancala, a common game of “count and capture”.

Oral traditions describe the Dan society of the 19th century as lacking any central governing power. Social cohesion was fostered by a shared language and a preference for intermarriage. Generally, each village had a headman who had earned his position of advantage in the community through hard work in the fields and through luck as a hunter. They usually surrounded themselves with young warriors for protection from invading neighbors and exchanged gifts with other chiefs in order to heighten their own prestige. Out of this custom was born the basic tradition of tin among the Dan, which was based on displaying one’s success in order to build a good reputation and name.

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